October 2015: Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) evolved from the “Day of meUnity” held in October 1981. The intent was to connect advocates across the nation. The Day of Unity soon became an entire week devoted to a range of activities conducted at the local, state, and national level. The activities had common themes: 1) mourning those who have died because of domestic violence; 2) celebrating those who have survived; and 3) connecting those who work to end violence

These three themes remain a key focus of DVAM events today. President Obama, in his DVAM 2015 proclamation, said:

Domestic violence impacts women, men, and children of every age, background, and belief. Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Victims are deprived of their autonomy, liberty, and security, and face tremendous threats to their health and safety. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we reaffirm our dedication to forging an America where no one suffers the hurt and hardship that domestic violence causes — and we recommit to doing everything in our power to uphold the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse.

DVAM is especially meaningful to Family Service Madison and its network of supporters, as FSM is Dane County’s largest treatment provider for batterers, and one of the largest domestic violence treatment providers in Wisconsin, offering comprehensive anti-violence treatment that embraces the entire family – children and adults, abusers, victims and witnesses.

Annually, Dane County averages one incident of domestic abuse for every 150 people and one child abuse report for every 43 children in our county, so the services and special talents of FSM are vital to the safety of our neighborhoods and the strength and health of our families.

Our therapies and training help with the healing and they rebuild families ricidivismtorn apart — but they also prevent future violence and abuse. While anti-violence programs nationwide typically see 40% to 60% of abusers abuse again, after therapy, FSM’s 2014 rate was less than 5%. The people who complete our therapy programs give us an average satisfaction score of 9.04 out of 10.

The following are among FSM’s domestic violence programs:
* Alternatives to Aggression is a certified domestic violence treatment program geared to intervene on physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by men toward their intimate partners. The group challenges and educates participants on the belief systems that serve to promote and perpetuate domestic violence in our culture.
* The Abuse Prevention Group for Women is for women who have been victims and have also used force toward their abusive partners. Group members work toward maximizing their safety, managing their anger, and interacting assertively.
* The Women Survivors of Domestic Abuse program is for women who are dealing with the effects of emotional and physical abuse by a current or former partner. The group focuses on safety planning, consequences of abuse, and healing from abuse.
* Parenting Paths is for parents and caregivers who have used excessive discipline techniques or are otherwise challenged with managing the behavior of their children. The group will focus on the growth and development of children, managing and expressing feelings, discipline techniques and setting limits.
* Parenting After Domestic Violence is one of FSM’s lesser known, but still vitally important domestic violence-related programs. The program covers important parenting concepts such as appropriate expectations, empathy, and discipline.

Your continued support of our work is vital to building stronger families and safer homes and neighborhoods. Thank you: With your help, we’re making a real difference.